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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-22-2017

Boise Capital News, November 22, 1917:

Ban Johnson, president of the American league will ask the war department to grant exemption from military service to 18 men on each of the 16 major league clubs, in order that baseball may continue during the war.

That Ban Johnson’s suggestion for exemption of big league baseball players should be the beginning of his end was the official view expressed at the provost marshal general’s office today.

[National League]President Tener today told the United Press he would not “go one inch toward Washington to ask President Wilson or the secretary of war for special favors for baseball.”

Tener 1, Johnson 0.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 22, 2017 at 09:46 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-21-2017

Butte Post, November 21, 1917:

Smoky Joe Wood has decided to give up pitching. He took himself off the Cleveland club’s payroll on July 1 because he realized that he couldn’t earn his big salary.
...
But he will not retire from the game. Lee Fohl and Tris Speaker, who are running the Cleveland team, will try Wood in the outfield next spring. Smoky Joe is a natural hitter and a splendid all-around player, for which reason the Cleveland mentors are not yet ready to part with him.

Spoiler: The experiment was a rousing success.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 21, 2017 at 09:48 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-20-2017

Boise Capital News, November 20, 1917:

Danny Shay will take the witness stand today and tell the story of his killing of Clarence Euell, negro waiter, in the hotel English cafe. Following Shay’s testimony, closing arguments will be made and the fate of the Milwaukee baseball manager will rest with the jury. Shay is expected to declare that he was forced to shoot in self-defense.

Forced to shoot in self defense because there wasn’t enough sugar in a bowl. Got it.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 20, 2017 at 09:49 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, November 17, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-17-2017

El Paso Herald, November 17, 1917:

Chubby Chawles Murphy, reputed to have run a shoestring into a fortune as owner or part owner of the Cubs, is threatening to throw some of his dough away, if recent reports from the windy city can be credited.

Murphy, it is said, has a deep, dark plot in the hatching for the formation of a third big league, and he doesn’t give a continental whether or not his league is recognized by the powers that be.

I had no idea there were so many plans to start a third major league. That seems crazy to me, but I guess the American League was less than 20 years old at this point. The order of baseball as we know it was still pretty fluid in 1917.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 17, 2017 at 09:47 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-16-2017

South Bend News-Times, November 16, 1917:

Branch Rickey, president of the St. Louis Cardinals and one time coach at Ohio Wesleyan university, will return the latter part of this week to help Coach McCoy put the finishing touches on the team that will meet Denison [in Delaware, Ohio] in the annual homecoming football game on Saturday. Rickey graduated from Wesleyan in 1904 and after graduation came [to Delaware] to coach football and baseball.

Beating Denison is the residue of design.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 16, 2017 at 07:50 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-15-2017

Washington Herald, November 15, 1917:

“Every major league club carried too many pitchers this year,” says James C. Dunn, owner of the Indians. “Six pitchers are enough for any big league manager. A ball club gets the best results when the manager works four good pitchers in rotation and holds two in reserve.”

Dunn favors a player limit of 20 men, including six pitchers, three catchers, six infielders and possibly five outfielders. He also is prepared to cast the Cleveland club’s vote for a schedule of 140 games in 1918.

Elsewhere in the news, the murder trial of former Brewers manager Danny Shay continues. The state says he was drunk, but the defense says Shay was sober and defending himself from the waiter he shot dead.

Also, the proposed Union League has been rejected by minor league owners but there are still rumblings that it may throw caution to the wind and go outlaw.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 15, 2017 at 06:58 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-14-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, November 14, 1917:

There will be no third quasi major league. This fact became evident yesterday, when the committee on the revision of the constitution in the minor leagues decided to recommend to the National association that the American association be left out of any redistricting that may take place…

[American Association clubs] Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Milwaukee refused to be frozen out, and their appeals have been recognized.

It would have been most unfair to throw these franchises in the scrap heap. And then the courts probably would have had something to say about it, for the owners in these four cities were prepared to go to the very limit for their rights.

Washington Times, November 14, 1917:

...the Union League, composed of four clubs from [each of the American Association and International League], may become an outlaw circuit with the tacit consent of Garry Herrmann, chairman of the National Commission.

I imagine that would have caused some serious blowback against Herrmann.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 14, 2017 at 07:28 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 13, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-13-2017

Harrisburg Telegraph, November 13, 1917:

Dan Shay, former manager of the Milwaukee American Association Baseball Club, charged with the murder of a negro waiter [in Indianapolis] May 3, will rely on a plea of self-defense, it was said yesterday, when his trial started. When court adjourned at noon not a juror had been accepted finally by either side.

According to testimony given at the Coroner’s inquest, Shay and a young woman entered a local cafe late at night. It was deserted except for the cashier and a few waiters. There was some kind of a quarrel, all witnesses said, and Shay got up, pulled a revolver from his pocket and shot the negro waiter…The quarrel, it was said, was about the amount of sugar in a bowl.

Spoiler: This trial doesn’t go particularly well for people who like crazy things such as “justice being served” and “murderers being imprisoned”.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 13, 2017 at 09:58 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, November 10, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-10-2017

Boise Evening Capital News, November 10, 1917:

M.E. Cantillon, president of the Minneapolis Baseball club and one of the real powers in the American association, issued the following statement today:

“The fact that the Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo clubs may withdraw from the circuit, will not disrupt the American association…[the remaining league owners] will see to it that clubs are placed in Louisville, Indianapolis and Toledo, thereby keeping the circuit intact…In regard to Toledo, [Milwaukee owner] Mr. Timme and I hold a 10-year lease on Swayne field, where the association games are played in that city…If Bresnahan goes into the Union league he will have to build a new ball park, a rather expensive operation in these lean days of baseball.”

[St. Paul club president Norton]: “If any owners in the American association want to get out, I wish they would and we’ll start new clubs in their towns next spring.”

Your move, Union League.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 10, 2017 at 09:56 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-9-2017

El Paso Herald, November 9, 1917:

Miller James Huggins, the new manager of the Yankees, is a midget with a big baseball intellect. There are few more interesting men connected with the national game. Urged by his father to become a grocer, Huggins studied law, but while in school became so engrossed in baseball that he adopted it as a profession.

Huggins is a firm believer in the science of phrenology. He has been “shown.” Fowler, a celebrated Cincinnati phrenologist, examined Huggins’ skull when he was two years old and declared that the youngster would make a fortune following an athletic calling.
...
[Huggins] graduated from Cincinnati Law school. He was admitted to the Ohio bar at Columbus. Former president William Howard Taft and Judson Harmon, attorney-general in Grover Cleveland’s cabinet, taught Hug law.

Phrenology? C’mon, man.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 09, 2017 at 12:00 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-8-2017

South Bend News-Times, November 8, 1917:

“The Pacific Coast league will fight tooth and nail for its rights. If the new Union league is to be exempt from the draft, then the Pacific Coast league also must be exempt.” Allen T. Baum, president of the Coast league, made this statement today, commenting on the proposed merger of clubs of the International league and American association into the Union league.

I guess I hadn’t considered it before, but yeah - the PCL probably would have been seething about the plans to give the Union League some kind of special status.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 08, 2017 at 10:14 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-7-2017

Bridgeport Farmer, November 7, 1917:

According to reports from New York, Newark, Baltimore, Buffalo, Toronto, Columbus, Louisville, and Indianapolis have been selected to form the new baseball league which will bear the name of the Union League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The organization of this league will be ratified at a special meeting of the club owners to be held in New York within the next two or three weeks.
...
The promoters of the new circuit have no desire to masquerade as a “major league.” They are prepared to conduct business under the rules that have governed the International league and the American association for the past 15 years.

The writer forgot to mention Toledo, which was the eighth city in the Union League. Everybody forgets Toledo. It’s a forgettable place.

It’s been fascinating to watch this story develop, knowing that the league doesn’t happen but not knowing why, when, or how it falls apart.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 07, 2017 at 09:33 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, November 06, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-6-2017

Butte Daily Post, November 6, 1917:

Among men who wager a tiny bit here and a tiny bit there, a $2 bill is looked upon as an infernal jinx…a $2 bill is about as welcome as a tarantula in a Pullman sleeper.
...
They told [Giants second baseman] Charley Herzog about that superstition going out on the train to Chicago after the Giants had made it two-all in the world’s series.

“I’m a contrary cuss. I’m going through this train and weed out every two-dollar bill that I can find. Two unlucky? Nonsense!”
...
Charley wasn’t afraid of the jinx, and the jinx wasn’t afraid of Charley, for the Giants lost two straight and scored only two runs in the last bitter struggle for baseball supremacy.

I spent my childhood collecting $2 bills, so I assume that’s why the Indians find a new and exciting way to fall apart each October.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 06, 2017 at 09:44 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, November 03, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-3-2017

Washington Times, November 3, 1917:

William Saier, uncle of Vic Saier, first baseman of the Chicago Cubs, one of the best known men of Lansing, is divesting himself of a coat of tar and feathers today. The coat was applied by a delegation of citizens who claim Saier is a pro-German.

The tar and feathering of Saier was given after a mock trial by a jury of twenty white-robed vigilants. He is said to have admitted he was a pro-German, that he subscribed to the Liberty loan under pressure, and to have confessed an unpardonable act of disrespect to the American flag.

Saier refused to admit the authorities to his home or to give any information that might lead to the arrest of his assailants.

Ah, the good old days.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 03, 2017 at 09:48 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-2-2017

Ogden Standard, November 2, 1917:

The bosses of the Pacific Coast league were still in session at the St. Francis hotel at 11 o’clock last night and each one was blaming the other fellow for calling the meeting…This gathering is only a special one and no one seems to know what it is all about.
...
[Los Angeles owner Hen Berry] said there is a possibility that Vernon will be dropped. He says Los Angeles does not like continuous baseball and the game will be better there with only one club.

Berry, of course, had an interest in seeing the Vernon Tigers disappear. Vernon was a second Los Angeles club for all intents and purposes. The team existed mostly because Vernon was one of two municipalities in Los Angeles County where alcohol sales were legal.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 02, 2017 at 12:27 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 11-1-2017

Washington Herald, November 1, 2017:

According to reports in local baseball circles yesterday, Ban B. Johnson’s application to fight in the trenches in France has been pigeonholed in the archives of the appointment clerk’s office in the War Department.
...
It seems that the government officials at Uncle Sammy’s army factory could find no jobs which would fit the qualifications of the American League boss.

If Johnson literally asked to fight in the trenches, I can’t imagine the response was anything other than confusion or laughter. As I’ve mentioned before, Ban Johnson was 53 years old and pudgy in November 1917. That’s not exactly the sort of soldier they were looking for.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: November 01, 2017 at 01:34 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-31-2017

Washington Times, October 31, 1917:

The plan for the formation of a new league of near-major caliber will be realized or exploded within the coming two weeks.
...
Baseball men of the two big minor leagues have had several meetings of late, and it is admitted that they expect to withdraw from their respective leagues and form a new organization if they can get the moral support of the two big leagues.
...
It is whispered [in New York] that the Baltimore people will be perfectly willing to forget about their [lawsuit] if they are given a club in a new circuit…Those who claim to be in on the know say that [the new league] will take in Newark, Baltimore, Buffalo and Toronto in the east, and Louisville, Indianapolis, Columbus and possibly Toledo in the west.

If this had flown and we had three major leagues, I have no idea how they could have done the World Series. A round robin tournament with each team playing eight games, maybe?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 31, 2017 at 09:46 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, October 30, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-30-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, October 30, 1917:

Reports that three or four clubs of the American Association intend to withdraw and merge with certain clubs in the International League caused Thomas J. Hickey, president of the American Association, to issue a call for a conference of the club owners to be held in Milwaukee next Sunday.

“If Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo club owners have decided to secede it is only proper that we should know about it,” Mr. Hickey said. “I know nothing officially of these reports, but we shall expect at our Milwaukee conference to have them either denied or admitted.”

They didn’t leave. The same eight teams made up the American Association from 1916 all the way through to the 1950s.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 30, 2017 at 09:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, October 27, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-27-2017

Chicago Eagle, October 27, 1917:

President Comiskey won’t be caught short again in case his White Sox get into another world’s series. He has announced that the gaps in the stands and bleachers at his Chicago park are to be filled, making a continuous line of stands around the field, except where the score board is located, and increasing the seating capacity to 45,000.

Comiskey Park didn’t actually change much until 1927, when they added a second deck to the grandstand.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 27, 2017 at 09:44 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, dugout, history

Jordan: The New (Old) Meaning of 20 Wins

Our own djordan exclaims: #MPWGA.

Since 2006, there have been exactly two dozen 20-game winners in the major leagues. All pitched to an ERA+ of over 130.

Although it’s a statistic that has gained awareness and respect over the years, ERA+ is not every baseball analyst’s primary measurement of dominance on the rubber. So why use it here? And why 130?

Do you know how many eligible starters possess a career ERA+ higher than 130 and are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame? Seven, and one of them is Roger Clemens, and one of them is Clayton Kershaw. Two are Roy Halladay and Johan Santana. Doc should make it to Cooperstown at some point and the former Minnesota Twins southpaw/two-time Cy Young Award winner is beginning to get some induction rumblings of his own (particularly from guys like Baseball-Reference founder Sean Forman, whose site provided the data for this piece.) I’m not going to comment on folks who don’t see much value in statistical “finish lines,” but to me, 130 is a strong benchmark of greatness for starters (the threshold being higher for relievers).

So here’s the thing – 19 starters have won 20 games in this decade and all of them possessed an ERA+ of 130 or higher. This has never happened before. So what, right? I believe that with the specialization of big league pitching staffs in today’s game, you will not see 20-win seasons without exceptional stats behind those totals ever again.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 27, 2017 at 07:27 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: history, pitcher wins, primates

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-26-2017

Pittsburgh Press, October 26, 1917:

Miller J. Huggins, newly appointed manager of the New York Yankees, officially stepped into his managerial shoes today.
...
Huggins explained today that he leaves the Cardinals with the best of good feeling.

“I gave Branch Rickey a proposition and he failed to meet my terms. I was given to understand that I was free to dispose of my services wherever I pleased,” said Huggins, “and when the opportunity to join the Yankees came along, I was glad to accept it.”
...
As Huggins is a constructive manager of known ability, and a great judge of ball players, it is predicted that he will lead the New York club to a commanding position in the coming pennant race.

It took more than one season, but Huggins did indeed lead the New York club to a commanding position.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 26, 2017 at 09:24 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-25-2017

[Boise] Capital News, October 25, 1917:

Fred Anderson, Giant pitcher, put in a claim for exemption from the army draft on some grounds or other and the claim was denied. Now Anderson has taken his claim right up to Woodrow Wilson. If Anderson is obliged to serve in the army it will likely be in the dental corps. Fred is a real dentist by trade and took up pitching to improve his health.

That’s a bit misleading. Anderson was a pitcher at the University of Maryland as he worked to earn his degree in dentistry.

Anderson is a fairly obscure pitcher in a historical sense, but he had just put up a 1.44 ERA en route to the league ERA title and a pennant with the Giants. Losing him to the army was a big blow to the McGrawmen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 25, 2017 at 10:55 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-24-2017

Washington Times, October 24, 1917:

If the big war is still under way next summer, it is more than likely that there will be no world’s series in 1918. The magnates are planning retrenchments all along the line, but another draft will so weaken the major league clubs as to make impossible the staging of a real series for the world’s title.

They did play a shortened season in 1918, but the World Series was unaffected.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 24, 2017 at 09:28 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, October 23, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-23-2017

Bridgeport Evening Farmer, October 23, 1917:

Though Ed Barrow is saying little about the proposed merger of the International League and American Association, the association promoters anxious for the consolidation are not letting the grass grow under their feet. Nor are they hiding their intentions.

The Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo clubs already have served notice on President Hickey of the association that they intend to secede from the association and affiliate with International clubs.

Reports from the West say an International club will be placed in the West Side of Chicago, the district vacated when the Cubs moved to Weighman’s [sic] old Federal League plant on the North Side and in Detroit.

This didn’t happen, probably because it was crazy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 23, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, October 20, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-20-2017

Richmond [Indiana] Palladium, October 20, 1917:

Byron Bancroft Johnson, president of the American league, is preparing today to leave for Washington, D.C., where he will offer his services to the government in any capacity. Johnson will not express preference for any branch of the service, leaving that matter entirely to the government.

Because of the probability that Johnson will be in the service of the country within a short time, the annual American league meeting scheduled for December in Chicago will be held early in November. Johnson said today he had been planning for some time to retire from baseball, but declined ot discuss his probable successor.

I don’t know whether Johnson changed his mind, or if Uncle Sam simply declined the offer of military service from a pudgy 50-something year old, but Johnson kept his job as the head of the American League through 1927.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: October 20, 2017 at 07:52 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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